News Round Up

THERE'S a massive crisis in Britain at the moment...no, not Brexit, but beer is being rationed!

The Guardian tells us that Booker, the UK's biggest wholesale, has begun rationing beer, cider and soft drinks.

Rising demand because of the heatwave and England’s World Cup campaign is complicated by a shortage of food-grade carbon dioxide gas.

Apparently this is because of high summer demand for fizzy drinks and beer, coupled with maintenance shut-downs at ammonia and bioethanol plants across Europe, which are the key sources of the gas.

 

 

When Harry the cat disappeared in 2008, his owner Mark Salisbury thought he would never see him again.

But, reports the BBC, Mark has now met up with Harry after a decade!

Apparently the cat turned up at the Ipswich branch of the animal charity Blue Cross.

Mr Salisbury, who used to live in Ipswich but is now based in Gloucestershire, said despite the fact that Harry disappeared he “could never quite bring myself to cancel the microchip”.

The ginger and white kitten was one of two Mr Salisbury got from a farm near Great Yarmouth when he was in his early 30s.

“Every time I moved home I would email the firm and update them. But after 10 years, you think that's it and you make peace with that.”

 

 

According to the Daily Mail, Spanish will become the most widely-taught language in the UK within a decade.

The British Council’s Language Trends Survey, which polled teachers in around 1,500 state and independent schools across the country found that Spanish is set to overtake French as the most-studied language by 2025.

This summer, GCSE entries for Spanish rose by eight per cent to 91,980, while those for French dropped by one per cent to 120,605 and German rose by three per cent to 43,260.

It is thought Spanish may be on the rise because of the country’s popularity as a holiday destination.

 

 

The Daily Express heralds the initiative shown by residents of Michaelston-y-Fedw in Wales, (population 300) who remedied their poor Internet connection by digging 15 miles of trenches themselves to and install a super-fast broadband cable.

Pensioners, farmers, teachers and even the village pub landlord put in thousands of hours of volunteering to dig trenches.

The project cost around £250,000 with villagers providing £150,000, plus £100,000 from EU funding and the Welsh government.

One of the organisers, Carina Dunk said:“It used to take a few days to download a film, now it takes less than a minute.

“Communities have tended to be more distant and detached but not here. Anyone can do it, it’s not rocket science.”

 

 

Buckingham Palace is to get a spruce-up.

The Guardian informs us that a major “decant” of 10,000 works of art including paintings, porcelain, tapestries and furniture, is being organised as part of its £369m refurbishment.

It's part of a 10-year project, which will include replacing vulcanised electrical wiring and ancient plumbing not updated since the 1950s and considered a fire risk.

 

 

The curator of the Museum of London, Vyki Sparkes, says a slice of fatberg on show there could be preserved for future generations.

The BBC says that although the lump of congealed fat, oil and wet wipes - taken from a "monster fatberg", over 250m (820ft) long and weighing 130 tonnes, found in sewers under the streets of Whitechapel has begun to "sweat" and change colour – the curator commented that it had caused a "marked increase" in visitors to the museum and they are now thinking of preserving it, when it finishes its public display.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

Daily Mail (www.dailymail.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

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AN article in the Daily Express newspaper says that mystery surrounds scribbles discovered among

ruins at the 7th century Tintagel Castle, which has links to the legendary King Arthur.

They have been found on a two foot stone at the medieval castle in Cornwall and features a mixture of Christian symbols, Latin writing and Greek lettering.

Michelle Brown, a writing expert from the University of London, said: “The lettering style and language used, as well as Christian symbols exhibiting Mediterranean influence and contacts, all reveal precious clues to the culture of those who lived at Tintagel in the 7th century.”

She added: “The text suggests a high level of literacy and an awareness of contemporary writing styles associated with the early illuminated manuscripts of Britain and Ireland.”

 

 

The Guardian reports that there are doubts over a landmark sculpture in Somerset after a crowdfunding campaign fell short of its target.

The 12 metre high Willow Man next to the M5, which was built at the turn of the century, has become a familiar sight both for local travellers and holidaymakers heading to and from Devon and Cornwall.

Creator Serena de la Hey launched an appeal to raise £75,000 to rebuild the figure, but only £16,000 has been pledged.

She told the Guardian that the nature of the material used meant Willow Man was originally envisaged as a temporary piece, which would stand for only about three years.

“Back then three years seemed enough to be going on with. But it has become part of people’s lives and has also become part of my professional and personal life. It is my calling card and it will be difficult to let it go.”

 

 

The historic Hadrian's Wall has been damaged by metal detectorists who have been blamed for more than 50 holes found around the 1,900-year-old Brunton Turret section, near Hexham, Northumberland.

According to the BBC, Historic England reckons those responsible were searching for loot such as Roman coins and military regalia.

Mike Collins, the organisation's inspector of ancient monuments, said: “We know that the majority of the metal detecting community complies with the laws and regulations regarding discovery and recovery of objects from the land.

“But the small number of people who steal artefacts and damage ancient sites are breaking the law and robbing us all of the knowledge and understanding that objects from the past can give us.”

 

 

The Guardian says that a portrait of Queen Victoria, showing her with” brutal realism as an ageing, pouchy cheeked woman with tired eyes” has been saved from export at a cost of more than £1m.

The bust was sold last year to an undisclosed museum in New York, but the government delayed the granting of an export licence in the hope that a UK institution could match the price.

The Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge used a recent bequest, and a National Heritage Memorial Fund grant of over £260,000, to raise the £1,077,607 price and it will now go on display in the museum.

The marble portrait was carved by Sir Alfred Gilbert – best known for the statue of Eros in Piccadilly Circus – between 1887-89.

 

 

According to the BBC, around 9.500 people gathered at the Neolithic monument at Stonehenge in Wiltshire for the summer solstice..

The summer solstice is one of the rare occasions that English Heritage opens up the stones for public access.

Reference list:

The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

BBC (www.bbc.co.uk)

WE don't get many in the UK but when we do, the newspapers give it full attention.

An article in The Guardian says that Lincolnshire suffered a 3.9-magnitude earthquake with its epicentre in Grimsby.

The British Geological Survey (BSG) said the seismic event took place at a depth of 18 kilometres (11 miles), with its epicentre in the north-east Lincolnshire seaside town. No serious damage is thought to have been caused.

 

 

According to the Daily Star, divers have found the 330 year old remains of Britain's richest shipwreck.

The merchant ship President sank near Loe Bar, Cornwall in February 1684 laden with a precious cargo of diamonds and pearls from India with all but two of her crew dying.

The Star reports that recent storms may have shifted sands, revealing the wreck to Cornwall Maritime Archaeology divers David Gibbins and Mark Milburn.

David said: “Loe Bar is usually a dangerous place to dive - the entry and exit are treacherous even with the smallest of waves. The recent period of calm weather has allowed us to get in for the first time in months.

“During our dive we were thrilled to discover seven cannons and an anchor at the site, only a few metres from shore in less than seven metres depth.”

He added: “We were exploring an area where artefacts had never previously been recorded, and we realised we were looking at new finds.”

 

 

Liverpool will get some of its greatest treasures out of storage for nine days in August to celebrate the Biennial arts festival including the 30,000 Minton tiles of St George’s Hall, one of the most spectacular surviving Victorian floors.

The Guardian says that other treasures being celebrated include “Waterloo teeth” harvested from the battlefield for sale as dentures; the Allerton oak, believed to be about 1,000 years old; centuries of art treasures from the Walker Gallery, from Giovanni Bellini to David Hockney; the civic silver collection including a mace once part of the regalia of Charles II; and the Central Library’s copy of Audubon’s Birds of America, one of only 120 elephant folio copies in the world.

 

 

The Independent informs us that the last polar bear in South Korea is to spend its retirement in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster.

Twenty four year old Tongki, who currently lives at the Everland theme park, just south of Seoul,

is to be the latest addition to its Project Polar reserve in at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park, joining their

other polar bears – Victor, Pixel, Nissan and Nobby – in November.

 

 

Wildlife warning via The Independent.... the populations of much-loved British mammals including hedgehogs and water voles have dropped by up to two-thirds over the past 20 years, and many more are threatened with imminent extinction.

These findings come from a review carried out by the Mammal Society and Natural England - the first of its kind to be conducted in more than two decades – which shows that pesticide use, invasive species and road deaths have all taken their toll.

 

 

James Bond fans might be interested to read a story in the Daily Express which says that a brooch worn a character from the iconic spy films – Miss Moneypenny – is to be sold auction.

The bug brooch was worn by actress Lois Maxwell in 1969's On Her Majesty's Secret Service and Octopussy in 1983.

The turquoise brooch's design features wings set with diamonds, ruby eyes, and a polished stone body mounted in 18-carat gold and has an estimated value of between £2,000 and £4,000.

It will be sold by Ewbank's Auctions in Surrey on Wednesday, June 20.

Reference list:
The Express (www.express.co.uk)

The Guardian (www.guardian.co.uk)

The Independent (www.independent.co.uk)

Daily Mirror (www.mirror.co.uk)

Daily Star (www.daily star.co.uk)

ACCORDING to The Guardian, a 10-year-old Hermès Himalaya Birkin with a diamond-encrusted white gold lock is expected to become the most expensive handbag ever sold at auction in Europe when it goes under the hammer at Christie’s in London.

It's likely to exceed its estimate of £100,000-£150,000, putting it in line to top the highest price paid for a handbag at auction in Europe, which stands at £155,000.

Christie’s handbag specialist, Rachel Koffsky, commented: “Only three of these particular bags have ever come up for auction. We don’t think there are many of them out there. I have my fingers crossed that we will break records with this bag.”

WE don't usually get big storms in the UK, but last week was the exception.

The BBC reported that around 15,000 lightning strikes were recorded in four hours after thunderstorms and torrential rain swept across parts of southern Britain.

Stansted Airport reported delays to flights after a lightning strike briefly left its aircraft fuelling system "unavailable".